Three days after  a  Mass of Christian burial took place for Fr. James Crilly, CSV, at the Viatorian Province

Fr. Pedro Herrera remembers Fr. Crilly fondly

Center, students and staff at the Colegio San Viator in Bogotá, held a memorial Mass for their beloved Padre. They remembered him fondly as one the school’s founding fathers.

“Gathered in prayer today we thank God for all the teachings of the founder and first rector of our school, Father James Crilly, CSV,” school officials said. “We ask for your eternal rest, promising that we will continue with (Fr. Crilly’s) legacy and mission in Colombia; forming ladies and gentlemen in faith, with the fundamental values: Identity, fraternity and transcendence.”

Fr. Gustavo López, left, and Fr. Pedro Herrera, right, concelebrate the memorial Mass

Fr. Pedro Herrera, CSV, president of the colegio, concelebrated the Mass with Fr. Gustavo López, CSV, school chaplain, in the Kenneth Morris, CSV, Auditorium. The liturgy drew a full crowd, including current students who learned more about one of the school’s founders, and graduates of his first class.

Among them was Francisco Ruiz, a historian and professor who described the school’s beginnings and Fr. Crilly’s role in it.

Fr. Pedro Herrera and Fr. James Crilly helped to concelebrate the 50th anniversary Mass of the foundation of Colombia, back in 2011

For Fr. Pedro, the occasion was bittersweet. He was in the first class to graduate from the colegio and he would become the first Viatorian religious to come from the school. He has remained passionate about advancing the Viatorian mission in Colombia, not only serving at the award-winning colegio in Bogotá, but also helping to start the Colegio San Viator in Tunja, in 2017.

Through it all, Fr. Pedro remained in close contact with Padre Crilly and visited him at the nursing home near the Viatorian Province Center in Arlington Heights, just weeks before his death. Though Fr. Crilly’s health was failing, he embraced his former student and confrere, and the two talked of their days in Bogotá, speaking in Spanish.